Exploring how arts-based social prescribing activities influence the identity change process in recovery from serious mental illness: A realist review and evaluation


Recovery from mental illness is a very individual experience, with hundreds of outcomes and mechanisms of change activated within non-clinical interventions. Recovery is a nonlinear process that can include challenges, identity change, developing hope, meaning and connectedness. Therefore, evaluating intervention efficacy through outcome measures alone becomes a fallacy.

A realist evaluation was conducted in partnership Creative Minds (SWYFT) to understand how and why community arts enable recovery from serious mental illness. The evaluation revealed context is key to intervention success, with six key contextual features needed to enable recovery. These contextual features create a safe and empowering space by being accessible and non–stigmatising and removing the expectation of recovery. Within this space, multiple mechanisms of change are activated, enabling individuals to engage with personal recovery processes. Therefore, context presents alternative criteria to measure intervention efficacy.



Sub-theme: Social Prescribing

Currently Underway

Team Contact:

Mike Lucock

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